Quantcast
Connect with us

California Democrat to surrender to FBI over bribery and fraud charges

Published

on

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California state senator was expected to surrender to federal authorities on Monday to face charges that he took bribes from a businessman and from undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood film executives to steer legislation in their favor.

Democrat Ron Calderon was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on two dozen counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other charges.

ADVERTISEMENT

Prosecutors gave the 56-year-old lawmaker, member of a family political dynasty going back several decades in California, until Monday to turn himself in. He was scheduled for an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon.

State senate leader Darrell Steinberg, meanwhile, has called on his fellow Democrat to resign or take a leave of absence during the criminal proceedings, saying that the senate would otherwise seek to suspend him.

According to the 28-page indictment, Calderon is accused of taking some $100,000 in cash bribes, along with plane trips, golf outings and jobs for his children, in exchange for influencing legislation.

The senator’s brother, Tom Calderon, a former member of the California State Assembly, was also named in the indictment and charged with conspiracy and seven counts of money laundering.

ADVERTISEMENT

Prosecutors say Ron Calderon accepted bribes from Long Beach hospital owner Michael Drobot to preserve a legislative loophole that allowed Drobot to defraud the state’s healthcare system out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Drobot has agreed to plead guilty to separate federal charges and is cooperating in the case against the Calderon brothers, prosecutors say.

Calderon is also accused of accepting money from undercover FBI agents who he thought worked for an independent Hollywood movie studio in exchange for supporting an expansion of film tax credits in California.

ADVERTISEMENT

Both Calderons are accused of laundering the bribe money by funneling it through Tom Calderon’s consulting firm, Californians for Diversity.

Tom Calderon, 59, pleaded not guilty during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Friday and his defense attorney, Shepard Kopp, said that he “categorically denies” the charges against him.

In June, FBI agents raided the Sacramento offices of Ron Calderon and the California legislature’s Latino Caucus, where he was a member of the executive board.

ADVERTISEMENT

In November, Calderon was removed from the board of the Latino Caucus and from his legislative committee assignments by his colleagues because of the investigation.

If convicted at trial, Ron Calderon, who also faces tax fraud charges, could face a statutory maximum of nearly 400 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for much less time. Tom Calderon could face a maximum of 160 years behind bars.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bernard Orr)

ADVERTISEMENT

Watch video by KCRA News below.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

Published

on

"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

Published

on

Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

Published

on

Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image